Tennessee shooting reinforces need for safety planning in Michigan schools

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - After another shooting took the lives of young students in Tennessee, Michigan State Police are highlighting the importance of school safety preparedness.

Related: 3 children, 3 adults killed in shooting at Tennessee elementary school

The tragedy that occurred just a few states away from Michigan happened at a private institution, which Michigan State Police First District Lt. Rene Gonzalez said further demonstrates that gun violence can happen anywhere, at any time.

“Nobody’s immune from what’s going to happen, or what can happen out there,” he said. “So they have to train. They have to get these kids ready, and I believe both private and public schools are working on that to keep their kids and their staff safe.”

Gonzalez said the Michigan State Police work with private schools in the Greater Lansing area, just as they do public schools. Officers will often make visits to these institutions to provide students and staff with the necessary education to protect themselves against threats of any level.

Some private schools, like Lansing Catholic High School, have made use of new technology that can detect the presence of weapons on school grounds. While Gonzalez believes this tool could be of great use to any school community, he understands it may not be equally accessible.

For that reason, he said it’s crucial that all schools develop a comprehensive safety plan and talk about the potential for violence with families and faculty. He said one of the more common courses of action for schools is the “run, hide, fight” method.

“This has happened so many times, it’s happening way too frequently, that the schools have been preparing themselves for this,” he said. “The main thing they’re teaching out there at school is run, hide, and fight. You run. You hide, and if you can’t do that, you’re going to fight.”

Gonzalez said there have been incidents of gun violence in schools where warning signs were clear prior to the act taking place. He encourages students to report any suspicion they might have that someone could be thinking about, or planning, an act of violence against their school.

Students can report these tips to the Michigan Student Safety Program OK2SAY line by calling 8-555-OK2SAY, or texting 652729.

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